Are You Making These Mistakes? 5 Guest Post Pitches to Avoid

    Do you want to get world-wide attention?

    Guest posting is one of the easiest ways to reach a large audience.

    If readers like your post, they might subscribe to your blog, share your post so that it reaches an even wider audience, and even buy your product or service.

    No matter how you look at it, it’s a win-win situation. At least, it should be.

    Here are four steps to a successful guest post:

    Step 1: Analyze the host blog to see what readers like and want.

    Step 2: Come up with a guest post idea.

    Step 3: Read the Guest Post Guidelines.

    Step 4: Write a guest post pitch to the blogger you want to target.

    Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

    However, most potential guest posters don’t bother to read our guidelines.

    5 Guest Post Pitches to Avoid

    Here are five types of guest post pitches we receive on Write to Done that are guaranteed to make us run for cover.

    1.  Look At ME!

    This type of guest blogger is very confident. They are delighted with themselves, and are sure others love them too. Here is a double dose sampler.

    Hi Admin!

    I really like your blog and its great content.

    I represent Atlanta Dry Cleaning, the best company to get your dry cleaning done in Atlanta. Your readers will love to know about our great dry cleaning services, so I want to send you a guest post. Don’t worry, it will be original and fresh content.  

    Atlanta Dry Cleaning

     

    Hey there!

    I’m from the London Real Estate Company, and want to tell your readers about the real estate they could buy in London. It will be useful and interesting information. The article will be exclusive to you, and you don’t even need to pay me for it!

    All I need is that you give me a link to my website.

    London Real Estate Company

     

    Are they serious?!

    We respond politely, explaining that ours is a website on writing, for writers, and their topic would not be a good fit.

    We also refer to our Guest Post Guidelines.

    But of course, if someone is over-confident, they think guidelines don’t apply to them.

    2. The Ping-Pong Player

    The ping-pong player writer has ideas at the same speed as the ping-pong ball hits the table during a game. Their speed and brilliance dazzle so much, I’m tempted to reach for my sunglasses.

    Here’s how it goes:

    PPP: Hello!

    I write articles on writing, and here are a few links to articles I’ve written already.

    I’d like to contribute a guest post on how to overcome writer’s block.

    WTD (10am): This is a very common topic. Please send an outline of the post’s content. It needs to be fresh and engaging if we are to publish it.

    PPP (10.01am): Okay, how about an article on using good grammar?

    WTD (10.02am): Please send me an outline.

    PPP (10.03am): I’ll send you 500-700 words on where to find ideas for writing.

    WTD (10.04am): Please visit our Guest Post Guidelines, and send me an outline of your proposed guest post.

    PPP (10.05am): Okay. You tell me which topic you want.

    I’m limp with exhaustion by now and have decided to give up.

    PPP (10.06am): You send me a topic and I’ll write an article your readers will really enjoy.

    I don’t think so!

    A meaningful post requires careful thought. It’s hard to take such an-idea-each-second guest post proposals seriously. They always peter out eventually.

    3. The Generous Expert

    The Generous Expert is usually an inexperienced writer who wants use guest blogging to create their platform.

    Hi!

    I’ve just joined a course on writing, and I would like to share my expert tips on your website for writers. Writing is very important, and people should do it every day so that they become good writers. It would be good for other writers to know this kind of expert information as it will help them to practice and become good writers. They need to learn and get some experience.

    Since I am learning this, I have all the knowledge and I’m happy to share it with the readers of your website.

    Generous Expert

    Whatever happened to learning and knowing before you set out to teach?

    Oops! Experts don’t need to learn …

    I pass up their generous offer.

    4. The Jumbled-up Writer

    The jumbled-up writer can write. Quite well, at times. But –

    Hello there!

    I’ve decided to send you my awesome article on 10 ways to improve your writing. Here is an outline of the post:

    It is really important to write well, and we all want to do so. Here are 10 simple ways you can improve your writing:

    1.      Write every day.
    2.      Read good books, whether they are on writing or not.
    3.      Think that you can improve your writing.
    4.      Count the number of words you write every day.
    5.      Pay attention to grammar.
    6.      Avoid cliches.
    7.      Use a fountain pen to write. Your handwriting will be clearer, and this is another way to improve your  writing.
    8.      Use language appropriate for your audience.
    9.      Edit everything you write.
    10.      Remove adjectives and adverbs.

    Let me know what you think, and I’ll send you the entire article.

    Jumbled-up Writer

    WTD:  It’s difficult to understand how Points 3, 4 and 7 will help readers improve their writing. Points 5 and 10 can be omitted altogether, because while editing (Point 9), you will pay attention to grammar.

    Also, it might be a good idea to organize the points in some order, rather than arrange them in random fashion.

    JW: Actually, I thought 10 would be a nice round number for the title of the post and I couldn’t think of more than 7, so I added those 3.

    WTD: Let’s just go with 6 Ways to …, unless you can come up with more ways.

    Readers prefer reading useful stuff, no matter how many or few points it makes. Getting fixated on an idea is not the way to create good content. Let your content decide your title, rather than the other way around.

    To create great content, order your ideas logically, so that when people read your guest post, they feel like they’re cruising smoothly, rather than jolting along on a rutted road.

    5. The Do-it-Now! Writer

    The do-it-now! writer is excited by what they have to say. They’ve thought about their topic, researched it, and written it. Time to send it out!

    Hi!

    Here’s my post on how to find the time to write.

    Writing doesnt mean you must need have to write for hours at a time. It’s imptant to write – that’s all. Depending on what you’re writing, even a 15-minute time slot will allows you to write. So onabusy day, you may write only one time slot of 15 minutes, but      on anotherday you mite write four slots of 15 mintues!

    Do-it-Now! Writer

    Obviously, the do-it-now! writer can write, and has something to write about. But that’s no excuse for sending an unedited piece of writing. All writers need to edit their work, but guest post writers need to do so more diligently than others.

    This is a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the guest post pitches we receive at Write to Done. Rather than reproducing the exact pitch, I chose the less offensive path of showcasing the spirit of each of these emails.

    Guest posting is quite simple, really. It’s about focusing on the needs of the audience.

    Once you focus on your readers, all you need is good writing and good editing. You’ll soon see your guest posts published and your readership growing.

    If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on social media.

    About the author

      Vinita Zutshi

      Vinita Zutshi is a writer, editor, storyteller and parenting coach.

    • Kostas says:

      Thanks for this post Vinita! I think some people do not realize how important it is to search for the right guest blogging options and then read the blog to make sure that it is a good fit. I’m sure some requests are sent on auto-pilot!

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Sounds like you’ve been there, Kostas.

        Auto-pilot is right – I’ve even had a few pitches that request publication on other blogs!

    • Julie says:

      I’m going to have to keep this post handy for when I plan to submit more guest posts. I haven’t done much of this yet, but plan to soon. I’m working on re-vamping my entire freelance approach right now, and this fits right in with all the changes I’m making in my marketing techniques.

      Do you have examples of good guest blogging inquiries you could show us?

    • thanks for the post and all post are nice and comment are all good..thanks chears

    • Jonathan says:

      Thanks for the post, it has really helped me to see some key mistakes that I have made, when submitting my own posts for review

    • This was hilarious. The non-funny part is that it’s true. How sad for us all.

      I have had to turn away people because they were not a good fit for my blog, so I totally hear where you’re coming from. I’ve also learned a thing or two along my guest post pitching way, and have had 8 guest posts published last year. I just had one published yesterday, have two more due out this month, and one (so far) due out next month. Not bad for having had a computer for less than a year, huh? 😉

      I’d just may pitch WTD one of these days, too. Rest assured, I’d be nothing like any of the examples you’ve mentioned in this post, though. 🙂

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Lorraine, I’m looking forward to your guest post – send it on!

        I think what you said about fit is very important. It can be hard to write for an audience other than your own, but that is the secret of successful guest posting.

        It begins with understanding that as guest posters, we have to inhabit a space of discomfort if we want to be a good fit.

        Thanks for your insight!

        • Vinita,

          I’m pleased to hear the encouragement in your voice! Thanks!

          I’ll be in touch. 🙂

          Lorraine

    • Enjoyed this post! You make some very good points, and the information is useful! Thanks!

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Thanks for the thumbs up, Jodee!

    • Easy read and several useful points. The samples used made it funny! Thanks for passing along these guest blogging tips.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        It’s great that you found it useful. Thanks for commenting, Joann!

    • Marialena says:

      Vinita, this was hilarious. As already noted, you revealed each how-not-to with humor and affection, as opposed to snark. By creating types, you made guest post pitching a much clearer goal. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully it will reduce the how-not-to pitches somewhat. 🙂

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Marialena.

        More than reducing the faulty pitches, I feel not knowing what they’re doing wrong costs people so many opportunities.

        Not everyone writes brilliantly the first time around, but mistakes like these make it difficult even to get a foot in the door, so I’d be thrilled to see more of the good pitches. After all, readers also get the benefit of a fresh point of view!

    • Harry Kingaby says:

      I’ve never guest blogged. I fact I never even considered this platform. What a wonderful way to market my piano lessons: on your writing blog.
      Or perhaps I could write about trying to guest blog piano lessons on a writer’ site.
      It may work; lots of writers play the piano. Or they should anyway. It would give them something to write about.

      Yes, that could be the nucleus of a whole new genre of writerly thought; writing, not playing, pianos.

      Have I got your attention? I am also interested in fishing. Angling to be precise. You may want to print this out so you don’t lose it, accidentally delete it.

      Fishing is good, but all water sports are within the prowess of my pen. (The barrel of said pen I turned myself on the Woodsman 200, a lathe that I rep for and can acquire for you at trade price).

      Wood-turning is a popular hobby and I write volumes on the art . . .

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        I’m smiling as I read this, Harry, as is everyone else, probably.

        I’m not humoring you when I suggest that you should try your hand at humor – writing, what else?

        Keep me posted – or should that be ‘pitch me a post’?

    • Your examples of “don’t do it” have left me speechless.
      I teach writing and have told those too scared to try that if they can talk they can write. I forgot to add that nobody has to listen – or read it. .Reminds me of George Bernard Shaw’s comment that I love: “Everyone is entitled to his opinion. They are not entitled to have it taken seriously.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        What a lovely quote, Enid! Thank you for sharing this. It’s helpful to keep in mind through life, I think, not just while writing.

        I once read that when showing people how to do something, it is also valuable to point out what can go wrong, and how to identify, rectify, and avoid it. Hence the “Don’t do” list.

    • This was quite a funny post, Vinita. But there is a serious side to the issue. I have received my fair share of poorly constructed pitches, and they resembled many of the “types” covered in your article.

      Unfortunately, these folks shoot themselves in the foot. Often their general concept is actually a good one.

      In any case, reading the guidelines is the first priority for anyone wanting to guest post. Secondly, I always read the blog to get a sense of the style, context, and comments the readers have.

      Thanks for posting this up.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        You make a great point, Tom! Reading some of the host blog’s posts is a great way to understand what the blog and its audience is all about.

        This itself can be an invaluable guide to a potential guest post contributor. Reading and following the guidelines seals the deal.

        Thanks for commenting!

    • Vinita, these go straight to my heart! I run a pretty high-traffic blog at Writers’ Village and get those pitches regularly. My favourites are: (1) irrelevant topics that have been angled superficially to the site (eg. How good ground coffee can improve your [writing]); (2) generic advice scraped off the web, followed by an irrelevant link to eg. an escort service or diet plan; (3) plain bad writing – gibberish that seems to have been spat out by a spin engine.

      Guest posts can be wondrous things. They can bring highly qualified readers and potential customers to our sites. In 2013, I wrote 80+ guest posts – including some for Write To Done (thank you!). Those posts doubled the size of my email list in 12 months. But folk have to learn the rules. And you’ve expressed those rules very well.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        John, as usual, you’ve put a smile on my face!

        These pitches seem to travel the world. I guess it’s a case of keep slinging them, and some day, one pitch might just hit the right target.

        You should know about guest posts being wondrous things – you’ve done some wonderful ones for us. It’s always a pleasure to find an email from you in the inbox.

        But the rules – ah well, we all know (or should, by now), that they rule.

    • Hey Vinita, it’s good to read your work here! :

      You shared fantastic lesson of how not to pitch the authors of the site you are trying to guest post for.

      I enjoyed reading the mistakes from the too confident to the do-it-now folks.

      Great piece indeed! I don’t pitch though and that’s because I try to make friends first of all with the authors of the blog I want to guest post for, read and comment on at least 10 of their articles, read their guidelines like you herein advised, and hook them up on everywhere.
      I know this process takes long but trust me it’s at the end very worthwhile.

      Thanks for sharing this great piece with this great community! :

      Sam

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        I agree with you, Sam, that taking the time to get to know the blog, the blogger, and be thorough with the guest post guidelines is one of the best ways of ensuring that your guest post will be welcomed.

        Thanks for commenting!

    • Emelia says:

      Thanks Vinita for the great post. I’m planning to send guest post pitches and this article reminded me that i should really focus on the site guidelines (read them over and over if I have to), oh, and be professional when I write the pitches.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Emelia, your reaction is music to my ears! “Read them over and over” sounds simply wonderful.

        I’m sure you’ll do a great job pitching, and land many guest posts.

        Good luck!

    • Joy says:

      I’m working on sending pitches to blogs and this is a great guideline. I love it that the points are clear and concise. Also, this post kept me smiling from beginning to end. That doesn’t happen often. 🙂

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Joy, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

        My first reaction to such pitches was ‘What!’, which turned to exasperation. But I must say, even I’ve begun smiling when I receive the umpteenth of such pitches.

        Though I’d much rather receive a guest post proposal that has me on the edge of my seat with a big ‘Yes!’ in my head…

        Good luck with your guest post pitches!

    • Hector says:

      This is a really useful post!
      I’m currently working on my website and when I finish it I would like to start blogging and make guest posts as well. This will be very helpful.
      Thank you!

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Thanks for commenting, Hector.

        Good luck with your website, and your guest posting campaign!

    • pygmy says:

      More useful information to help me become a better writer.
      Thank you!–pygmy sluglark

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        Pygmy, it’s great that you found the post useful.

        Good luck with your writing!

    • I allow guest posts on my blog and it looks like I have received pitches from the same people.

      Although I must say you do a better job responding to their email. I figure if they don’t take the time to read and follow the Guest Post Guidelines, I don’t need to take the time to reply to their emails.

      Of course, this usually means I get the same email from them over and over and over…

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        I think we’ve all received pitches from the same people, Jeremy!

        Thanks for the thumbs up on my response, but it doesn’t seem to have had much effect.

        I guess sometimes feel people their persistence will wear us down…

    • Alicia says:

      This is an awesome post. I love how you’ve outlined how NOT to pitch your idea.

      • Vinita Zutshi says:

        I’m glad you enjoyed it, Alicia.

        Given how many such guest post proposals we receive at Write to Done, it seemed easier to say what not to do.

        I’ve got my fingers crossed that it shows some results!

        • Alicia says:

          Vinita,

          I just tested this out and did my best to avoid these mistakes. You should be getting an email with my pitch, so hopefully your finger crossing paid off!


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